Chastising the academic infrastructure of public schools, Sir Ken Robinson attributes the trend of unidimensional thinking and lack of creativity in modern youth to deficits in the public education system and as a result, distorted perceptions of “education.” Robinson’s plea for reforming and modernizing the traditional education paradigm arises in an age where education no longer guarantees a job and students nationwide have an ingrained, albeit misinformed, belief that if they do not pursue science or mathematics, they will never be successful. As Robinson informs, the current system of public education still holds is foundations in the past, when Industrialization created an initial burst in education and in consequence, schools were, and still are, organized on factory lines. Robinson reinforces the lack of advancement in schools to show that education is not progressing and may in fact be regressing towards a strictly regimented institution void of creativity or critical thinking. In light of an outdated infrastructure and declining academic performance, Robinson takes the opportunity (kairos) to share his vision for reformed education in a TedTalk, a platform conducive to sharing ideas and new ways of thinking.
To bring awareness and urgency to a nonfunctional system, Robinson discusses a study that showed the deleterious effects of the current public school system on student creativity. In the study, a group of children were monitored for creative capacity from the time they were in kindergarten to the time they were fifteen. A higher aptitude of creativity, which corresponded to a higher level of genius, was observed in kindergarten children (who received a genius score of 98%). As these children were retested at ten and fifteen years of age, their aptitude of creativity declined by more than half (to a genius score of 40%). As Robinson explains, society can no longer afford to believe that twelve years of grasping theoretical information constitutes an “education.” Rather, the influx of theoretical knowledge and the concept of “There’s only one answer. And it’s in the back,” has essentially purged modern youth of its creativity. The publication of the study substantiates Robinson’s claim that students are losing creativity and provides an appropriate context for Robinson to bring up the issue and spread it to wider audiences. In reference to kairos, Robinson utilizes the recent findings of the study to create a window of opportunity in which people across the nation are unanimous in their belief that the public education system needs to be reshuffled and remodeled.
Link to speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U